Study Confirms TV 'Halo Effect' For D2C, Other Brands Across Life Stages

New research from Comcast Cable’s ad sales division, Effectv, and VAB finds that linear TV can lift performance in all brand life stages, and is particularly effective for relatively young D2C brands. 

The new study, based on an analysis spanning a four-year period (June 2016 to June 2020), is the last in a research series on linear TV advertising effectiveness from the organizations. 

This one used website traffic-driving as an indicator of campaign effectiveness. The study employed Nielsen Ad Intl syndicated research to determine when brands launched their TV campaigns, their active TV flight months and their estimated investment levels. Monthly unique website visitors for the brands were then analyzed through Comscore Media Metrix media trend multi-platform data. 

Brands were categorized by age ranges: three years or fewer (40 brands, defined as “young”); four to seven years (60 brands); and eight years or older (40 brands). 

For D2C, the study analyzed 140 brands in more than 25 industry verticals, categorizing them based on how soon the brand introduced TV advertising after launch. 

D2C brands that advertised on TV saw immediate results, regardless of life stage. The average D2C brand within each life stage saw an immediate, double-digit increase in unique visitors to its digital platforms during the TV launch month, compared to the three-month average prior to campaign.

For non-D2C brands, the study analyzed 50 companies over 15 industry categories, divided among two life-stage segmentations (older or younger than 20 years).

As with the D2C segment, the average non-D2C brand within each life stage saw an immediate, double-digit increase in unique visitors to their digital platforms during their TV launch month.

A key takeaway from the report, “The Halo Effect: TV as a Growth Engine,” is that sustained presence on TV is key. 

Again, young brands—and new D2C brands in particular—saw the greatest lift from a sustained presence. On average, unique website visitors for young brands during months with TV advertising were 50% higher than their pre-launch website visitor norms — equating to “millions of potential new online customers each month they were on TV,” says the report. 

Brands at older life stages saw a 21% increase in website visitors, “illustrating that TV still drives significant uplift for mature brands but they can also rely on a greater level of awareness due to time in market.”  

“This study establishes that TV is a critical growth engine for brands at any life stage,” says James Rothwell, vice president, global agency, brand and industry relations, Comcast Advertising. “And for newer brands, TV presents an opportunity to ‘legitimize’ their products, bringing credibility and scale in ways no other advertising medium can.” 

“Direct-to-consumer brands have been disrupting entrenched categories for some years now, and their digital-centric business models have created data-driven marketing practices to drive growth,” Rothwell adds to Digital News Daily. “Those efforts have typically gravitated toward search, social media and other digital executions, but the key shift in recent years for [linear] TV has been the enhanced use of data for audience precision and attribution. In short, D2C brands are now able to execute the same strategies in TV that brands are accustomed to in the digital arena.” 

According to VAB, D2C companies accounted for 66% of new national TV advertisers in 2019. 

Younger, data-driven D2C brands now “spend aggressively and advertise more consistently than their competitors, resulting in higher engagement and better digital outcomes,” concurs Jason Wiese, senior vice president, director of strategic insights, VAB. 

The report also includes case studies of various approaches to use of television and their outcomes.

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